What’s Winter? Pre-Season Update 2017

The bass fishing world is full of opportunity for those who are willing to put in the time. It’s been a busy year thus far as I continue to learn the fishing industry from a legislative and advocacy perspective. To catch everyone up, in October I moved to Alexandria, Virginia after obtaining a job with the American Sportfishing Association. I am now working under the association’s advocacy group, Keep America Fishing (KAF), as their Digital Content Manager: strategizing, growing social media followings, keeping the KAF website up to date, and working to grow recreational fishing across the nation. If you wouldn’t mind doing me the favor, visit KeepAmericaFishing.org and Join Us, which will keep you up to date on all the issues threatening the sport we all love. Enough with the business talk. Here is what I have been doing early in the year in preparation for the 2017 tournament season.

RVA Expo

For those who have missed it, the past month or so has been filled with fishing and boating shows across the nation. In previous years, I have been attending the Richmond Fishing Expo merely to observe the spectacle and visit friends across the industry. Last year, I was fortunate enough to establish a relationship with a relatively new company that has since taken the bass fishing world by storm. Reelsnot, a line and reel conditioner company out of Delaware, prides itself on the creation of a lubricant that is non-petroleum base, but instead silicon base, which will not break down your fishing line or corrode your line over time. After using it for the past year, I will say that it has taken the place over other industry leaders and improved my fishing success. Improved casting distance and reduced line memory are a few of the qualities that make the product stand out from the competition. For all the pitching and skipping fans like me, Reelsnot will help you reach the spots underneath cover and docks where most lures aren’t seen, correlating to more bites. With the company’s recent addition of world famous bass angler Michael Iaconelli, I am so blessed to be involved.

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(L to R) Me, Noah Wheeler, Ron Caldeira, Rich Vonnordeck

The Reelsnot booth ended up being one of, if not the most popular booth at the expo, bringing a lot of spectators for the product and apparel. In fact, Reelsnot had the best day of sales Saturday of the expo than they have had since starting the expo. If nothing else, I am proud to have been a part of the memorable weekend. I gained valuable communication experience that will surely benefit me going forward. Check the company out at Reelsnot.com, and stock up on both the original line lubricant and the Java coffee-scented spray for this year’s fishing season. For those attending the Bassmasters Classic this year, join me in the Reelsnot booth!

Striper Fishing with AJ Best

As I mentioned in the introduction, the fishing world is full of opportunities for those who put in the time. In this untypically warm weather, I have tried my best to get out on the water, and when all else fails, have taken the gamble to locate a partner at the last minute.

A couple weeks ago, eager to get out on the water and without a partner for the day, I took the gamble to drive to Lake Anna and find a partner. Waiting for over an hour for a boater without a co-angler, I finally found a great local fisherman that I had met the day prior willing to take me out. Standing outside Fish Tales Lake Gaston like a homeless man asking for change, AJ Best stepped up and offered me the opportunity to fish with him. What an experience!

IMG_9769After boarding the boat, AJ immediately took a look at my rods and informed me that I didn’t have the right gear for what we would be targeting. Although an avid bass angler for the majority of the year, Mr. Best informed me that this time of the year he almost exclusively targets Striped Bass. Luckily enough, there are numerous techniques that overlap between the two species, and I had the right tackle stowed away for the occasion.
I will not get into the specifics as to honor the generosity AJ showed me, but basically I was shown specific locations that striper roam during this time of year. When it was all said and done, we were able to put seven stripers in the boat, four of which were keeper size, and another three hybrids that were recently stocked in Lake Anna, and so with great management will soon be reaching keeper size.

To end the magical day, Chris Craft and Scott Taylor of Fish Tales took a photo of the day for me to remember. I surprised my girlfriend with fresh lake striper of which we filleted and ate for dinner the same night, a first for me; a memory I will not soon forget.

Preparing For the Lake Anna VA Elite 70 Event

I’ll be the first to tell you when I am not on fish, the three or four times I have bass fished on Lake Anna have been less than desired. This year is the first time that I am at least trying to put in my time to learn winter fishing. To put things into perspective, I have NEVER, and I repeat, NEVER, caught a fish on a Jerkbait. Not because I haven’t wanted to I will add, but I just haven’t spent the time fishing this early in the year. Last year due to scheduling conflicts with the FLW BFL Series, I missed the March event on Lake Anna. This year, with multiple overlapping events, I made the decision to step back and not fish the BFL Series for the first time in four or five years. It was a tough decision, but one I hope will save a little money in the long run.

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I have learned how difficult Lake Anna can be, but seeing fellow teams putting 20+ pounds in the boat doesn’t sit easy with me. Considering I have been on Lake Anna less than a handful of times, I am slowly putting together a game plan for the waning weeks leading up to game day. I finally obtained a Lake Anna map and will be putting in some map study, as well as some Google Earth time.

Stay tuned for more information on how the last few weeks of practice go leading up to the first event of the season. Thanks for your support!

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